November 29, 2022

How Does Inefficient Maintenance of Air-Conditioning Affect Big Multinational Companies (MNCs) in Singapore?

Do you run a multinational company (MNC) or a large organization in Singapore? If you do, we're sure you are always on the lookout to find ways how to be efficient in running your company/business, including the management of direct expenses such as the energy use for your entire building. HVAC/air conditioning systems account for approx. 30-50% of a building's energy consumption. So it is very important to adopt ways how to cut down this expense source. Also, one of the things that you must get right is a good working environment for your staff. The Singapore laws indicate that all workers are entitled to work in environments where all risks to their safety and health are appropriately controlled. To deliver this conducive working environment, one huge factor is to have a good air-conditioning (AC) system. The AC system helps to control not only the temperature and humidity but also clears harmful particles from the indoor environment. Therefore, it is prudent to ensure that it is running optimally all the time. However, it is not uncommon to find some malfunctioning systems in some companies. In this post, we take a closer look at the air conditioning for multinationals in Singapore and demonstrate the negative effects of inefficient maintenance. We will also highlight the best methods that you can use to maintain the AC in top-notch condition.

Singapore buildings

How Does an Air Conditioning System Work?

If you are new to air conditioning in offices, it is essential to go back to the beginning and establish how it works. Air conditioning is a process used to create and maintain specific temperature, humidity, and air purity conditions in an indoor environment. The process uses an air conditioner, which removes the warm/ hot air from the indoor space and releases cool air to keep the temperatures low. The process can be broken down into the following steps: 

  • Hot air is drawn from the enclosed space/ office/ room into the system. 
  • The hot air is then forced through evaporator pipes that cool it down. A dehumidifier also removes the excess moisture from the air. 
  • The coolant in the evaporator turns into a gas as it gets heated by the passing air. 
  • The cooled air, which is at the right humidity level, is re-circulated into the indoor space. The effect is lowering the temperatures to the preferred level. 
  • Meanwhile, the coolant that had evaporated is passed via a compressor and condenser, which convert it into a liquid. 

As you can see, the process is continuous, which implies that the air-conditioning system can quickly degrade. Therefore, failing to maintain it in top condition could result in malfunctioning and low energy efficiency. 

Impact of Poor Maintenance on Air Conditioning 

The air-conditioning (AC) system of your company in Singapore is like machinery, which requires regular maintenance to operate correctly. Maintaining AC effectiveness is crucial because it determines how comfortable your staff will be at work. So, here are the main impacts of poor maintenance of your MNC air conditioning system. 

  • Increased Energy Use 

An air conditioner comprises many parts, but the most important of them are the evaporator, expansion valve, condenser, and compressor. If any of these parts is in poor condition, your AC will have to work harder to keep the temperatures low and humidity within the right range. Let's take the example of a failed evaporator. 

When the evaporator fails to remove the heat from the hot air sucked into the system from offices, the AC will have to run faster to lower the room temperatures. This additional effort will translate into higher energy use and elevated monthly power bills. For a multinational with many facilities or rooms requiring air conditioning, the surge in energy bills might result in a significant reduction in profit margin. 

  • Poor Air Quality in the Workplace 

All MCNs operating in Singapore are required to ensure that the air quality for their staff is within the recommended standards. Singapore’s air quality targets are in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) long-term recommendations. For example, it targets a mean of 20µg/m3 for sulfur dioxide and 10µg/m3 for particulate matter (PM2.5) over any 24-hour period. If your air-conditioning system is poorly maintained, it will not be able to meet these conditions. This could easily result in severe penalties. 

In extreme cases, or if the problem is not remedied quickly, your operating license could get canceled. Such implications could cause huge losses for shareholders and reputational damage. The best thing for MNCs in Singapore is to remain proactive and identify solutions to AC issues on time. 

  • Regular Need for Replacements

When you buy machinery or install new systems in your company, the target is to get the highest value for money. However, poorly maintained air-conditioning systems are likely to get damaged and require replacement within a short time. For example, clogged ducts could force the AC rotors to work harder and tear down quickly. This means that instead of the AC system lasting, say 10 years; it will only do four. 

Regular replacement of your AC systems is likely to result in higher operating costs. It could also compromise your ability to meet environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. As you focus on improving the performance of your company’s AC system, consider working with international organizations for support. For example, Climate Fresk and the UN can help to build your team’s capacity and improve ESG rating. 

  • Increases the Risk of Staff Attrition 

Staff working in MCNs in Singapore want to have the assurance of the best working environment. Therefore, failing to keep ACs in the right condition can compromise the working environment, making them want to leave. Imagine losing some of your best staff because another company is offering better working conditions. This might be worse if the employees are joining a competing organization. 

Even when searching for talent, your MNC is likely to miss out on high-potential candidates as they opt for companies with better working conditions. Therefore, it is prudent to find out the best working conditions and ensure that your employees are comfortable at work. 

  • Reduced Productivity

In a hot environment such as Singapore, which has average daily temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius, failure of the air-conditioning system is likely to result in high temperatures in the offices. This is likely to cause a significant reduction in staff productivity. According to a study done by Sonathan et al at the University of Chicago, productivity drops by about 4% per degree of temperature rise above 27 degrees Celsius.  

For MNCs in Singapore, anything that can easily pull down productivity should be avoided. So, you should look for the best strategies to ensure the temperature, humidity, and particulate particles in the workplace are within the recommended level. You should also carry out random tests and ask staff about their most preferred working conditions.

How to Improve the Efficiency of Air Conditioning 

Now that we have outlined the main impacts of poor maintenance of air-conditioning systems for MCNs, here are some recommendations for improvements. 

  • Adopt a Proactive Maintenance Schedule 

A proactive maintenance schedule is a model that helps you to predict when the HVAC system might have a problem. For example, if the air-conditioning system starts increasing the electricity bill, it implies that one of its components might be faulty. So, do not wait for a breakdown to have the system checked and repaired. You might also want to have the system reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that hidden issues that might be developing are noted early enough. 

  • Use Intelligent Energy Management System

One of the causes of air-conditioning system failure and inefficiency is overworking. For example, if your staff leaves the HVAC system on over the weekend, it will overwork when no one is actually using the offices. To avoid this, the best strategy is to install an energy management system that senses when no one is in the office and immediately switches off the system. This will help to cut down the energy bill and reduce the tearing and wearing of the system.  

  • Install CONTINEWM in Your Air Conditioner 

Another highly effective method of improving the efficiency of the HVAC system is to install CONTINEWM. It is a device designed to help reduce the resistance to airflow through the HVAC system. So, how exactly does CONTINEWM work to reduce the tear, wear, and efficiency of the system? 

When an air-conditioning system is running, the moving parts generate positive electrostatic charges. These charges cause resistance to airflow, making the system work harder to help cool your offices. It also results in rapid tearing and wearing of the HVAC system. When CONTINEWM is installed in your air-conditioning system, the device releases negative charges, which clear the positive charges. The effect is a smooth flow of air through the air conditioner

Another benefit of using CONTINEWM in your system is that it is pretty easy to install. You only need to fix it on the front part of the heat exchanger to start enjoying a smooth flow of air and optimal performance of the AC system. The improved efficiency of the AC also helps to pull down the energy bill associated with HVAC. This simple yet effective solution can increase your HVAC system's efficiency, promoting a longer lifespan while cutting down your AC bill by 25% on average.

This post has demonstrated the main danger that MNCs operating in Singapore can face for poor maintenance of their HVAC systems. The threats could result in the cancellation of operating licenses, but you can avoid that by adopting a good maintenance schedule. Particularly, you should install CONTINEWM and regularly inspect the AC system for better results. It is also important to work with Climate Fresk for expert assistance in improving the sustainability rating of your company.